– Edo State Governor Godwin Obaseki has remarked on the current insecurity in his state calling it ugly
– The governor has promised to visit officials in Abuja for urgent assistance especially as the year nears the “ember” months
Edo State Governor, Godwin Obaseki, is frantic about finding a solution to the rising incidences of insecurity in his state with his recent resolve to visit those who matter in Abuja for an urgent assistance.
The current security challenge in the state was heightened by the September 24 raid on Ogba Zoo and Nature Park in Benin by kidnappers, who disguised as fun seekers and abducted the director, Andrew Ehanire. The act was done quickly, but not without first killing the three policemen attached to him. Their victim who is also a brother to the Minister of State for Health, Osagie Ehanire was taken into custody and a ransom of N350 million was demanded.
He was freed last Saturday perhaps following the payment of the ransom. Andrew after his release spoke to newsmen saying the ransom was part of the bargain. His experience was horrific, evidenced in his statement where he said, “I could have died if I had not been released. I was released… in the middle of nowhere.”
Another victim, Joseph Osayomore, a popular musician, was kidnapped about the same time and a ransom of N200 million was demanded. Joseph’s wife was also shot in the head during the incident. A Catholic cleric, Lawrence Adorolo, who though released now, was abducted on the Auchi-Okene Road last month.
The situation is indeed ugly as the Governor said beacause it is either kidnapping, bank or highway robbery, shooting by cult groups, or plain murder. Nobody appears to be safe. Earlier this month, gunmen trailed Paul Otasowie, an engineering professor of the University of Benin, to the front of his residence and shot him dead.
Governor Obaseki in his reaction to these incidents has moved to action because these crimes usually worsen during the “ember” months.
Before now, motorists and commuters passed through the dark spots along this long stretch with fear. Sometime in June, commercial buses blocked the road for 10 hours to register their grievances over the incessant robbery attacks around the Okada town junction, which led to the death of two of their members; a luxury bus driver and his conductor, whose vehicle was shot at sporadically at night. The state was literally frozen in gridlock, compelling the police boss, Secretary to the State Government, Osarodion Ogie, and the state Director of the Department of State Services, Ibrahim Hiliu, to relocate to the area until normalcy was restored.
However, in September, the state police command arrested and paraded 70 suspected robbers, kidnappers, cultists and murderers, among them the suspected killer of Lawrence Okojie, a reporter with the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA).
Rounding up suspects has become commonplace and an abused crime combat strategy which is not taken seriously anymore. The reason being that suspects bribe their way out of detention, many convicts do not serve their prison terms, while capital sentences are not enforced.